Harlem police shoot for Tasers

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The Harlem Department of Public Safety could soon gain a new tool to deal with the dangerous - one that comes with an electrical shock.

Harlem Department of Public Safety Chief Jerry Baldwin demonstrates the proper stance with one of the department's new Tasers, which would replace the retractable batons the officers currently use if approved by Harlem City Council.  Jim Blaylock/Staff
Jim Blaylock/Staff
Harlem Department of Public Safety Chief Jerry Baldwin demonstrates the proper stance with one of the department's new Tasers, which would replace the retractable batons the officers currently use if approved by Harlem City Council.

On Feb. 19, the department plans to ask the Harlem City Council for approval to use Taser guns. It's a device some have had concerns about, but Harlem Chief Jerry Baldwin says it's necessary in law enforcement.

"It is just a wonderful tool for law enforcement," Chief Baldwin said, adding that if approved, the Tasers will immediately go into use and replace the batons his officers now carry.

"It is for officer safety, first and foremost."

The Harlem department would join the Aiken County Sheriff's Office locally in using the devices. Neither the Columbia nor Richmond County sheriff's departments use the devices.

In the 1980s, the Richmond County Sheriff's Office allowed officers to have stun guns, which are different from Tasers.

Tasers fire two probes that pierce the skin through as much as two inches of clothing, transmitting 50,000 volts of electrical pulses into the body in a five-second time frame. Stun guns provide an electrical pulse without shooting probes.

Both Columbia and Richmond counties use OC spray, a pepper spray, or ASP batons for nonlethal uses of force. In Aiken, sheriff's Lt. Michael Frank said there have been no unauthorized uses of their Tasers. Harlem officers also carry OC spray, Chief Baldwin said.

Harlem public safety officials purchased six X26 Tasers late last fall at a cost of $600 each. Officers with the department have received user and Taser International instructor training, including being shocked themselves so they understand the effects.

"The pain was pretty intense," Chief Baldwin said. The device temporarily takes away a person's muscle control.

"Once the five seconds is up, you actually have all use of your entire body. You can get up. You can walk. You can run, do whatever you want to do. That's it, you are back to normal."

According to the Harlem department's proposed Taser policy, the device is only to be used on combative suspects who pose a threat to themselves, the officer or others. Though Chief Baldwin said no medical attention is necessary after being shocked with a Taser, his department's policy requires providing precautionary medical care to anyone shocked.

Reach Preston Sparks and Valerie Rowell at (706) 868-1222 or ccchron@augustachronicle.com.

HOW A TASER WORKS


When an officer pulls the trigger, compressed nitrogen shoots two small probes as far out as about 25 feet at a speed of more than 160 feet per second. The probes, which are connected to the Taser gun by insulated wire, pierce the skin of the subject through as much as two inches of clothing. At that point, an electrical signal transmits through the wires, causing an immediate loss of the person's muscle control during the five-second impulse.

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FedupwithAUG
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FedupwithAUG 02/10/07 - 01:55 am
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If it can go through 2 inches

If it can go through 2 inches of clothing how far does it go into the skin? Ouch. What about people with a pacemaker couldn't that kill?

FathersR2
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FathersR2 02/10/07 - 02:37 am
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This has been proven to be a

This has been proven to be a deadly weapon in South Florida, where there have been deaths attributed to their use. I suspect that the persons on the receiver end of the tasers have had known medical problems prior to their being used. ie: heart problems most likely. Albeit deaths have occured, the use of the taser by law enforcement is still allowed here. That's living in paradise!

crymeariver
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crymeariver 02/10/07 - 03:22 am
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Dont break the law and you

Dont break the law and you wont have to worry about it, you complaining freaks!

Ole School
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Ole School 02/10/07 - 06:22 am
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ARM your department, the

ARM your department, the thugs are armed ! look at that bouncer ! in Augusta, I have lived in Halrem for YEARS and all i can tell you people that drive thru Harlem KNOW to slow down, HPD WILL stop them.....doing great work HPD keep it up !

ListenAndLearn
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ListenAndLearn 02/10/07 - 07:22 am
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Good luck Harlem and to you

Good luck Harlem and to you people battling disease and/or illness....stay home and rest and stay out of trouble might be a good choice. Hopefully, Grovetown and other area Public Safety Depts will follow this lead. I'd say it's long over due to have the upper hand with criminals and still keep your distance.

jff
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jff 02/10/07 - 11:29 pm
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this is a waste of money

this is a waste of money that could be used toward the youth of harlem. come on city council wake up!!!!!!!!.

I_the_stranger
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I_the_stranger 02/10/07 - 11:53 pm
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JFF, that's why HPD needs the

JFF, that's why HPD needs the Tasers is because of some of the Punks (youth) in Harlem, Dearing, Grovetown, etc. If the families would raise their kids, there may not be a need for things such as Tasers! But until this happens and people start being accountable for their own actions, then I say give the department whatever they need! COME ON MAYOR AND COUNCIL WAKE UP IS RIGHT! APPROVE WHATEVER CHIEF BALDWIN REQUESTS FOR HIS MEN!

"Ride the lightning"

jff
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jff 02/11/07 - 12:00 am
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i the stanger ,you must be a

i the stanger ,you must be a good old boy.

WW1949
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WW1949 02/11/07 - 02:45 pm
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Don't be a disruptive person

Don't be a disruptive person and obey the laws of society and you have nothing to worry about. Criminals need to be stopped from hurting others.

I_the_stranger
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I_the_stranger 02/11/07 - 10:16 pm
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JFF, Thin blue line baby!!

JFF, Thin blue line baby!!

jimmylovas
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jimmylovas 01/28/08 - 12:29 am
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crymeariver, there are plenty

crymeariver, there are plenty of police officers who are just not intelligent enough to adequetely evaluate a situation in which a taser should be used. for example if a police officer pulled you over for drinking and you disagreed with him he may tase you for being "unruly" even if you were not. If you're old with heart problems would you like that? After all without you North Augusta elementary would not have any food for their christmas party....

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